JACKSONVILLE, FL – Defensive end Hall of Fame Bruce Smith is upset that offensive tackle supporter Tony Boselli is using Boselli’s dominant performance against Smith in a playoff as one of the reasons Boselli was elected to the Professional Football Hall of Fame.
The NFL career sack captain also hinted that Boselli does not belong in the Hall of Fame due to his long career and the fact that Boselli played with the left quarterback and didn’t have to protect the blind side.
“A large part of the campaign to promote Tony Boselli into the Hall of Fame appears to be focused heavily on one successful performance he had against me in a playoff in 1996,” Smith said in a statement posted on his official Instagram account. “On the other hand, I am very flattered that it is the gold standard by which another player’s game can be measured to determine whether he qualifies for HOF. But on a more serious level, I and the other HOFers think it sets an appalling precedent for negatively focusing on a permanent member of the hall play in order to Validation of the candidate’s nomination.
Boselli dominated Smith in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 30-27 victory over the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Wild Card Game on December 28, 1996. Smith was the NFL’s top defensive player that season after making 13.5 sacks and 90 tackles , but he managed only three interventions and two pressures from a quarterback in the match that was held in Buffalo.
But Smith said using the game as an excuse to get Boselli in the Hall of Fame is “disingenuous tactics”.
“HOF is an exclusive fraternity that follows an implicit code of conduct that promotes respect and brotherhood among its members,” Smith said in his statement. “If given the opportunity, any Hall of Famer could use his credentials to brag about his dominance over another member, but such behavior is considered inappropriate due to the friction and discord it can create within the group. Maintaining harmony and goodwill in the HOF is paramount, and that is exactly what Reason why players’ campaigns have historically been presented with respect and thought, allowing candidate stats and a whole host of actions to speak resoundingly for themselves.
“Recourse to disingenuous tactics, such as targeting the HOFer’s team and single-match inflation to enhance a candidate’s merit as some Tony supporters have done, undermines the integrity of the hall’s election process. It also invites unnecessary comment and scrutiny about that candidate’s merit to become a member of the HOF.”
Boselli went to five Pro Bowls, was selected to the All-Pro Team three times, was a member of the 1990s NFL All-Decade Team and only allowed 15.5 sacks in 91 career games, but it was his performance against Smith that day that earned him national recognition as one of the The best players of his era.
“I have great respect for Bruce Smith,” Boselli told ESPN. “He is one of the greatest players to have ever played the game and is one of several men I have competed with during my career. I played the matches I played, all on tape for anyone to see. My career ended early because the shoulder injury was discussed a lot. I don’t have much to add. till then “.
Smith also said that the length of Boselli’s career, which spanned from 1995 to 2001, means she falls short of some of the game’s best left tackles like Anthony Munoz, Willie Roave and Walter Jones. Smith said the fact that Boselli played with the left midfielder was a sign against him.
“In Jacksonville, Leon Cersei took on the daunting task of protecting Marc Brunel’s blind side, while Tony benefited from the protection of a talented and highly mobile quarterback,” Smith said. “During my nineteen years in the NFL, many outstanding players, such as Bruce Armstrong, Richmond Webb and Will Wolford, have made great matches against me. Perhaps they would also be wise to build HOF campaigns to highlight this fact.”
Incidentally, Smith was the one who introduced Boselli as part of the 2022 Hall of Fame class at the NFL Honors on February 10. A Hall of Famer, he told a radio station in Jacksonville in 2020 that Boselli “deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. … and people still refer to the profession; it wasn’t long. No, but he was the best when he was playing.”
Boselli will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 6 at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, along with wide receiver Cliff Branch, safety LeRoy Butler, Art McNally official, linebacker Sam Mills, and a defensive end/defensive tackle Richard Seymour, coach Dick Vermeil and defensive tackle/defensive end Bryant Young.